» Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sir Philip Hayden’s Review

Asked how Sir Hayden Phillips would be launching his review, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he would check. Asked if the Prime Minister would comment on the launch, the PMOS said he would not.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Prime Minister’s speech to CBI dinner

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists the Prime Minister's argument tonight was about the key long term decisions that faced us as a country. The Prime Minister would say that:

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Nuclear Power

Asked if it would be fair to say that it was the first time that the Prime Minister had explicitly backed the nuclear option as one of three specifics, the PMOS said: no. The Prime Minister had always talked about having to make decisions on nuclear power stations, and what he was doing at this stage, was setting out the questions which the Energy Review would have to address. However, one of those question was: did we as a country want to become so dependant on gas and on 80-90% dependant on foreign imports?

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Police Inquiry

Asked if the police, following their statement about their inquiry, had interviewed anyone from Downing Street, the PMOS in response asked whether it was normal for the government to comment on an ongoing police investigation. Asked whether it was normal for the police to investigate the government, the PMOS suggested that there were all sort of assumptions in that question which he would not be responding to. We were not giving any sort of running commentary on this or any other police ongoing investigation. Put that Downing Street had done so in the past therefore should they infer that the Prime Minister had been questioned, the PMOS answered no.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Home Office

Asked to elaborate on the role of the Chancellor in relation to the Home Office and the spending review, the PMOS said that he had dealt with this yesterday. The Treasury had always had a role in allocating money to the security services and for security in general. Asked what the Prime Minister had announced yesterday, the PMOS said it was a party speech so he could not comment, but his understanding was that the Prime Minister had been referring to the Treasury's normal role. Put that the Prime Minister had spoken about the Chancellor having a role in policy development, the PMOS said that in terms of the Treasury's role in overseeing spending in departments it obviously linked into the overall strategy. Asked how the relationship between the John Reid and Gordon Brown would work, the PMOS said the relationship between the Home Secretary and the Chancellor was absolutely the normal one. Asked to characterise that, the PMOS said it was between one of a Minister in charge of a department and the Treasury, which funded that department.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Vernon Coker

Asked if the new Minister for drugs, Vernon Coker, had told the Prime Minister that he had had experience of drugs in the past, and what was the Prime Minister's view, the PMOS replied that as it was the first he had heard of the allegation, he would have to find out.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Utilities

Asked how Alistair Darling would be launching the gas review, the PMOS said that it was a review of the strain on gas over winter where we had recognised that supplies were tight but that the scare stories had turned out not to be true despite one of the coldest winters for some time. Asked if the Prime Minister was worried about water supply, the PMOS said that the reality was that we had had nineteen consecutive months of below average rainfall. The Prime Minister could do much but that was something that he could not influence and he would not even attempt to claim that he could. What we had done was encourage the water industry to tackle issues such as leakage. Overall leakage rates for water companies were down 20% since 1997. The government expected companies to continue to do everything they could to reduce leakage. Where necessary the Environment Agency was encouraging people to take the appropriate steps.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Cabinet

Asked what the Prime Minister's view was of the outrageous Evening Standard story that there were too many Scots in the Cabinet, the PMOS said that journalists could slur the Standard if they wanted to but he would defend it every time, except when he needed to attack it. As for Scots, Scotland played a very important role in the United Kingdom and Parliament, full stop.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Civil Service

Put that the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) had published a report yesterday suggesting that civil servants should be responsible for their failures, the Cabinet Secretary had just been asked about this, what was the Prime Minister's view, the PMOS said that given he had not heard Sir Gus O'Donnell's answer and as he was the head of the civil service it was best that he check on that before commenting.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Venezuela

Asked if the Prime Minister had any comment on the Venezuelan President's offer to give gas and oil to London's poor, the PMOS said that it President Chavez wanted to study our support for people in this country he was quite willing to do so.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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